Our August book club pick was The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski. I, as usual, didn’t vote for it, but after reading it, I’m glad it was this month’s pick. It was an endearing read I finished in one day!
This is the story of June, a 34-year-writer who is just coasting through life and not really living until……she’s in a car accident that kills the passenger, Marissa, a girl she just met at a Weight Watchers meeting. As she goes through the woman’s purse getting it ready to give back to her parents, June finds a list entitled, “20 Things to Do by my 25th Birthday.” Because she feels guilty, June decides to finish the woman’s list and gives herself until the girl’s 25th birthday to complete it, only a few months away.
At the beginning of the book, I found myself thinking this was a silly idea, reminiscent of The Bucket List. However, as the story progressed, it became apparent there was a stroy here, not just a list of things to do. I enjoyed how June’s character developed as she scrambled to finish the list. It was interesting how June worked so hard to remain loyal to Marissa as she attempted to fulfill Marissa’s dreams. June learned a lot about herself and others as she completed the tasks.
The story line with the “little sister” was a little contrived, though. In addition, some of the relationships that June develops as a result of this list seem a little unbelievable. She starts the book as basically a loner with one friend to having significant relationships with several different people. I do understand that the author was trying to show June’s development as a person through the use of these developing relationships, but sometimes I think she included too many for such a short period of time.
There were a few plot twists in the book. Some I saw coming from a mile away. The author wasn’t too subtle in foreshadowing them. However, for others, I was pleasantly surprised. Although, I noticed the foreshadowing after the fact.
Overall, I tought this was an entertaining story of a young woman finding herself in an interesting manner. It was fun.